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How to prove God to an atheist (no, really)...

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by s2a, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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  2. jeffrey

    jeffrey †ßig Dog†

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    I never stated that a lemon was a pie. And besides, that was not the point. But by you stating what you did, proved my point. :)
     
  3. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    This "naysayer" sees that for there to be a "son" of God - there first has to be a God. Historical (doubtful) or myth (likely), the man Jesus, can be proud of his teachings.

    Parenthetically, I am more inclined to accept a "spirit", holy or not, that issues from myth.
     
  4. Mr Spinkles

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    *MOD POST*

    Just a reminder to everyone:

    Personal attacks are against the forum rules. Please restrict your comments to the topic, "How to prove God to an atheist". If someone makes a personal comment about you, please do not respond in kind. Simply report the post, or PM a Moderator. Keep your posts focused on the topic, please, not other posters. Thanks. :)
     
  5. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Apologies for delay in reply. A long-time friend of mine was killed in a car accident last Sunday, and I wanted to lend some aid in a time of need for his surviving family, and to attend the funeral.

    Now, where were we?

    Michel said:

    >>"Shhhhhhhh ! don't wake him [s2a] up - he has been quiet for awhile - don't give him more reason to come back!"<<

    Namaste no longer? Oh well...

    >>"If you have a look at the link below, you will see that s2a neither understands the meaning of 'atheism', nor does he understand 'Buddhism' properly.
    [ http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/showthread.php?p=195851#post195851 ]"<<

    Yes, please do. Subsequently within that thread, I demonstrate that my self-assertion of atheism is in fact corroborated by the provided dictionary definitions.

    While I claim no especial expertise regarding Buddhism (or it's varied sub-sects), my brief (and allegedly confused/errant) observation (from the referenced thread) was:
    >>"Now I'll grant that there are certain religions/superstitions/myths that claim/worship of no god(s) - Buddhism springs to mind first - but Buddhism (as example) does claim belief(s) in supernatural cause/effect outcomes/relationships (albeit absent a specified or named "divine being", "entity", or "god"). Buddhists are unquestionably "religious", yet are by definition, "atheist"."<<

    Excerpted quotes below compliments of religioustolerance.org -

    "Buddhists do NOT share most of the core beliefs of historical Christianity. These include:
    - A transcendent or immanent or any other type of God, Gods, Goddess, and/or Goddesses."
    [ http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism4.htm ]

    Atheist, or not?

    "One [core] fundamental belief involves reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana - a state of liberation and freedom from suffering."
    [ http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism1.htm ]

    "Supernatural cause/effect outcomes/relationships", or not?

    Please refine/correct my lack of understanding as you alleged regarding my brief summary observation. Or just say..."oops".
     
  6. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello jgallandt,

    You offered:

    >"Why should God prove his existance to you any more then what He already has?"<

    Why not? It hasn't worked yet.
    That's kinda the question at hand, ya know. What could it hurt?

    >"It's your soul at stake here, not his."<

    That's the claim.
    Whom decreed the consequences of belief/disbelief?
    Is "Accept me, love me, worship me...or I'll KILL you" a good starting point for believing in a god?

    Your "pie analogy" was unremarkable, but I may get back to it .

    >"Notice it states in Mark 6:11 [as instruction to The Twelve] "Whatever place does not welcome you or listens to you. leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." It does not say anywhere to stay there and perform miracles until they believe."<

    I notice in Mark 6:12-13 that : "They [The Twelve] went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them."
    The Twelve performed miracles with no particular accounting of either dusted feet or numbered coverts.

    Just the same, Jesus' instruction (to His mortal prophets) could readily be understood as 1) due caution, and; 2) Efforting where "miracles" could most readily be perceived as such. It's a lot easier to convince a believer of a miracle, than a non-believer. But even so, despite evident lack of faith and unbelief (or disbelief) amongst the general "unwashed", Jesus and His followers continued in their "miraculous" interventions.

    As excerpted from "Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology" regarding "miracles":

    >"Although English speakers regularly use "miracle" to refer to a broad range of wondrous events, the biblical concept is limited to those not explainable solely by natural processes but which require the direct causal agency of a supernatural being, usually God. These occur throughout all major eras of history but do appear with greater frequency at key periods of God's self-revelation.
    ...

    "Jesus works miracles to demonstrate that the kingdom of God has been inaugurated, the messianic age has arrived, and he is the Christ who will fulfill all of God's previous Scriptures. In explaining the significance of his exorcisms, Jesus makes this claim explicit (Matt 12:28). In replying to John the Baptist about his identity, the claim is more implicit but equally clear (Matt 11:4-5). Once he heals a paralytic to demonstrate his authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:9-10). His transfiguration is introduced as God's kingly reign come in power (Mark 9:1). Lazarus' revivification grounds Jesus' subsequent claim to be the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). And the evangelists' summaries regularly link his mighty deeds with his teachings so that the former legitimate the latter."

    ...

    "Throughout the Bible, miracles consistently serve to point people to the one true God, ultimately revealed in Jesus Christ. Their primary purpose is not to meet human need, although that is an important spinoff blessing. But they are first of all theocentric and Christocentric, demonstrating the God of Israel and of Jesus to be supreme over all rivals. Contemporary experience suggests that this pattern continues; miracles today seem most frequent in regions where Satan has long held sway and where people require "power evangelism" to be converted. But God's sovereignty warns against trying to predict when they may occur and refutes the "name it and claim it" heresy that tries to force God to work miracles upon demand, if only one exercises adequate faith."<

    Source: [ http://bible.crosswalk.com/Dictionaries/BakersEvangelicalDictionary/bed.cgi?number=T480 ]

    So...Scripture suggests that...
    ...many did not "believe", yet miracles were/are still performed that others might believe, and some did/do now believe as a result of their witness.
    ...God performs miracles to reassert/solidify His power and authority (to everyone).
    ...God performs miracles as "reward", or as validation of/for the faithful.
    ...God performs miracles to demonstrate (prove?) that He IS God.

    Which leads back to the originating premised miracle "proposal". IF God does indeed (continue to) perform miracles despite the fact that not all who witness them convert, and; IF He does so to demonstrate His power and existence, and; IF He "grants" sincere (and qualified/specified) prayer "requests" from His believers that people be miraculously healed, spared, protected, or "delivered"..

    ...then...

    ...what's wrong with believer's praying to God that a certain qualified/specified miracle (like the one I propose) be granted to potentially convert billions of "unseeing" believers?
     
  7. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Scott1,

    You asked:

    >"What's so hard about this verse S2a????

    Am I missing something?"<

    I don't know. Maybe I'm missing something...like the particular verse you might be referring to? ;-)
     
  8. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello NetDoc,

    You said:

    >"it appears that you are offended that I won't throw stones. How quaint. You can't goad me into starting to do so, just to placate your desire."<

    Poor projection on your part. I have no desire for you to throw stones. I'd just like to see you answer the question without all of this extraneous and irrelevant C&V that *still* provide no answer to the question, "What's wrong with that"?

    To wit, you offer up John 8:1-11.
    Irrelevant to the topic, but nice to know you wouldn't stone me for adultery either.

    >"I imagine you would have the same frustration with Jesus as you have with me."<

    Perhaps. He managed to confound even His prophets with some of His parables. I'm more inclined to think that Matthew 13:10-13 provides you the inspiration...

    >"It's probably because you have missed one of the most important verses in the NT: Hosea 6:6...
    So important that Jesus quoted it twice. You try to paint Christianity as condemning the world... you have it backwards. We are already lost... Jesus has come only to save."

    Whoa. Gross mischaracterization. I didn't "paint" anything. I merely asked you what John 14:6 "meant" to *you*. Your reply was that you didn't want to "join in" and "speculate" upon the fates of others. Irrelevant and unresponsive evasion.
    Again, instead if offering your understanding of John 14:6 (of what Jesus meant and implied in so saying), you offer up Hosea? It really wasn't a "trick" question to simply offer your own understanding...

    >"As for your "metaphor"... it's not MY FAULT that you chose something that was so OPEN to showing the falacy of your thinking. You should be mad at yourself for resorting to such a problematic metaphor, that could only show how wrong you are. PS: Please don't tell your cronies at the Critical Thinkers Society... they might laugh you out of the building."

    Well, if mankind is a child, and God is Mom...I'm comfortable with us kids not accepting "because I said so" as "reason" or as sufficient explanation for a "that's all you get" declaration - and as such, a readily acceptable shame to bear amongst my peers for retaining such a position.

    When I said:

    >>"It is my concluding supposition, and allegation forthwith, that you either CAN NOT (through ignorance), or WILL NOT (by means of intellectually disingenuous evasion) address/answer the simple, straightforward question at hand."<<
    You replied:
    >"It amuses me that in your frustration you have turned to the only argument left to you... your squalid opinion of me."<

    I don't consider ignorance (in and of itself) a character flaw. I do consider tactical evasion exercised by an evidentiary intelligent person...as regrettable (an not especially amusing). My opinion of you is only diminished in regard of the latter. I expected better, but in fairness, have endured far worse.

    >"Instead of dealing with the fallacies in your arguments you have resorted to a classic ad hominem (if you don't understand the last term, you can ask your cronies in the "Critical Thinkers Society")."<

    Oh please. *sigh*

    It would aid me considerably if you would specifically outline and demonstrate the (fallacious) logical flaws (in previous argument) I have left unaddressed.

    I'll provide an example:
    You allege (of me):
    ""Instead of dealing with the fallacies in your arguments you have resorted to a classic ad hominem."

    >>"A regular ad hominem fallacy consists of asserting that someone's argument is wrong and/or they are wrong to argue at all purely because of something discreditable/not-authoritative about the person or those persons cited by them rather than addressing the soundness of the argument itself. The implication is that the person's argument and/or ability to argue correctly lacks authority. Merely insulting another person in the middle of otherwise rational discourse does not necessarily constitute an ad hominem fallacy. It must be clear that the purpose of the characterization is to discredit the person offering the argument, and, specifically, to invite others to discount his arguments. In the past, the term ad hominem was sometimes used more literally, to describe an argument that was based on an individual, or to describe any personal attack. But this is not how the meaning of the term is typically introduced in modern logic and rhetoric textbooks, and logicians and rhetoricians are widely agreed that this use is incorrect."<<
    - Source: [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem ]

    At least that's what some like-minded "cronies" think...maybe they''ll let me stay.

    Your understanding of a "classic ad hominem" is differing in what way from that provided above?

    This is where I point out that I have *not* attacked (or otherwise impugned) your *authority* in either subject matter or credibility (even conceding you "I'm sure your confidence and faith serve your needs well enough"). I have highlighted your ongoing evasion and deflection from the question at hand (which seems inexplicable beyond my remaining supposition that either you can't or won't answer, for whatever reason), and I employed sporadic sarcasm (where appropriate).

    From the heights of inferred moral superiority, you said:
    >"While it might seem a fun thing to denigrate you in return..."<

    Well, no one will accuse you of not having "fun".

    If I was keeping a record of the personalized references you offered regarding my character, or mischaracterizations of what I said, it might include the following:

    >"...especially with people espousing such tripe..."
    >"...You seem to squander time just fine right here..."
    >"...God gave you a conscience; Use it! ..."
    >"...Well duh, what about a changed life don't you understand?..."
    >"..."You already have ALL the evidence that a reasonable person needs..."

    ...IF I was keeping a record of such things...

    From a one-sided perspective, one might conclude that: my contributions are mere tripe; I waste time and effort in participating here; I have little (or no) conscience; I'm too dim to understand a basic concept; because I don't agree with your conclusion, I am therefore unreasoned/unreasonable.

    Proverbs 24:28

    I haven't once questioned your piety, strength of convictions, or personal honor/integrity. You have said that I wouldn't accept the very premises of an argument I offered in earnest (if realized in fact).

    >"...I will just stick to pointing out the obvious errors in your logic."<

    Feel free to start at anytime.

    >"for over two thousand years, the nay sayers have tried to prove that Jesus was NOT the son of God to justify their non-belief. s2a is in the company of many who tried and were just as frustrated."<

    One of the nicer features of this discussion forum is that it allows anyone to access each and every previous post from each and every other contributor. Fortunately, I have but 50 or so to sort through...

    I invite you to link to *any* post I have made within this entire community (or on any other discussion board for that matter) that has been offered (or attempted) as "proof" against the existence or divinity of Jesus, or your God. Just ONE.
    C'mon. That should be a *really* easy allegation to support.


    [Note for the record: It's clear to me that in my last post to you that I overused ALL CAPS. It was my primary intent to provide emphasis, not shout. It would seem that in order to avoid further characterizations of my comments as "frustrated" (or "quaint"), I'll actually have to sift through the html primer and learn to use the boldface, italics, and "quote" options in posting.]
     
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  9. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    S2a, Namaste. (if it pleases you)

    I really am extremely sorry to hear about the death of a long-time friend of yours; I understand and admire the fact that you wanted to be with his family to console them. I hope and trust that the funeral went according to plan, and that you are able to grieve for the death of your friend; I have lost two good friends through death - we cannot know how others will react (ie we can never empathise truly), but I was very upset - I hope you are coping; if you need 'an ear', I am always here...........I mean that.

    As to Buddhism; There has obviously been contention concerning this;
    These two books refered to Buddhism as atheist:-'Buddhism' Christmas Humphreys (1954) quoted atheist
    "The Varieties of Religious Experience", William James 1901-1902
    Buddha himself stands in place of a God; but in strictness the Buddhistic system is atheistic".

    However
    "The Phenomenon of Religion", Moojen Momen 1999 made a rebuttal of atheism in Buddhism.
    And now, I find on http://www.khandro.net/Buddhism_toc.htm

    "Deities (buddhas & bodhisattvas, gods & goddesses.) Dakini: female deities of India and the Himalayas"

    I think we can rtherefore say that Buddhism is a theistic philosophy.

    "One [core] fundamental belief involves reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana - a state of liberation and freedom from suffering."
    [ http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism1.htm ]

    "Supernatural cause/effect outcomes/relationships", or not?

    Not in my opinion; the process of reincarnation, as I understand it does not require the intervention of a deity; the soul may be 'in charge' of the process of deciding whether it has learned the lesson (from that incarnation) - but it could be that the decision comes from a deity - there is no way of KNOWING that; but there is no PROOF that
    "Supernatural cause/effect outcomes/relationships" is the modus operandus
     
  10. Sabio

    Sabio Active Member

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    S2a,

    Your overlooking the miracles that "are" already there for everyone to see!

    - 6 Billion people on the planet and each one unique, no two exactly the same.
    - A multitude of animals in the earth, no two alike, each with a purpose.
    - The universe staying in perfect motion, on time, every day
    - The diversity of the environment (plants, trees etc.)

    Why do you need a sign in the sky, there are enough of them on the roadways!

    Sabio
     
  11. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    All explained better without a resort to the supernatural
     
  12. Sabio

    Sabio Active Member

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    How so?

    Please explain how these things came into being without the supernatural?

    Sabio
     
  13. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    science
     
  14. Sabio

    Sabio Active Member

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    Pah,

    Science is "a systematic field of study and the knowledge gained from it" (Wikipedia).

    You must be referring to your "faith" in science, as science does not "create" anything, only studies and confirms, (just as I see the miraculous through my "faith" in God).

    Since God created science, we are really on the same page. God created the miracles that we see all around us, and science studies and confirms them.

    Sabio
     
  15. Performance Park

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    Science?!?! :(

    Get real! Is that the explanation you use in a discussion about the formation of the world? Science is nothing but the study of what God does. Nature points to God and science only proves what the word o the Lord states as truth. ;)

    ALL TRULY OPEN MINDED SCIENTIST BECOME DIESTS!
     
  16. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member

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    Religion:
    Something else
    A truly original and interesting opinion you have there. Can you provide even anecdotal evidence to substantiate any of these incredible claims?
     
  17. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    It's the explanation I use for the question of how do I explain the following
    • - 6 Billion people on the planet and each one unique, no two exactly the same.
    • - A multitude of animals in the earth, no two alike, each with a purpose.
    • - The universe staying in perfect motion, on time, every day
    • - The diversity of the environment (plants, trees etc.)

    Science has not fully answered the beginning of the universe and the subsequent beginning of life but it has peer accepted, credible, scientific evidence about the above that extrapolates to those unanswerd questions. However. science does not have, nor anybody have, scientific or logical evidence of a mystical, supernatural being of any sort. For a scientist to become a deist, he or she must fill in the gaps of scientific knowledge with "God", to coin a term for supernatural. A deist scientist would have to say, "I don't know how it happened so I'll abandon further scientific pursuit, just calling the missing data and theory God/Creator. I don't have evidence to support that conclusion but that's it folks". Meanwhile, other scientists, without that hesitency, may go ahead and remove a little more doubt about the beginnings and the gap narrows. The "god of the gaps" gets smaller. Will the "god of the gaps" diminish to nothing? - I don't think so. For when a gap is closed, the goal posts are moved.

    You may say the deist scientist is open minded about a creator but close minded when it come to his colleagues in other fields. As he or she makes breakthroughs in understanding his or her field of study, deism as an answer dismisses the others. Even a "faithful" deist seems to be a paradox let alone a scientist with faith in an active God. Faith, by it's very nature, contradicts science.

    And I should add this - "nature points to God" is a circular arguement (God created nature - nature points to God)
     
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  18. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Michel,

    You said:

    Thank you for your sincere condolences and concern.

    I know that death comes to us all at one point or another, but his death was untimely (he was but 45); and as always seems in the case of car accidents, quite pointless. The cause of the accident remains" undetermined" beyond "loss of control" (he crashed into a tree on a back road on a rainy night). Knowing him as I do (did), he is (was) an excellent driver, and would not have "lost control" without some other factor involved. I'd like to think (knowing his affinity for nature and all creatures great and small) that he was probably swerving to avoid some possum or raccoon in the road, and just lost it on recovery. He'd of said it was worth it...but I could have lived with one less possum in the world instead of losing him.

    I will miss our conversations about virtually anything and everything; I will miss his enthusiasm and optimism; I will miss his goofy (and frequent) laugh; I will miss his intellect, compassion, and selfless generosity.

    Unfortunately the tragedy extends beyond his surviving family, for he was a popular and admired teacher amongst his students as well. He was a decorated (heroism) soldier (retired). He was a loving father of two daughters, and dedicated husband to a phenomenal woman.

    And...he was, my friend.

    Well, enough of feeling sorry for myself...on to other things...

    You said:
    No, we could agree that Buddhism is a religion, and that some folks (by agenda or ignorance) would prefer to define it to best suit their own sensibilities. The idea of an eternal "Creator God" is contrary to the Buddhist doctrines of anicca and anatta, and is flatly contradicted in scripture (see, for example, the second section of the Brahmajala Sutta, pp.75-83 of Walshe's translation of the Digha Nikaya).

    As to Dakini, read more here:
    [ http://www.khandro.net/dakini_khandro.htm ]
    "Dakinis have been explained as "emanations of Enlightened Mind" but here is a further sense, since to possess "enlightened mind" is another way of saying, "holding the bodhisattva commitment." It can connote the wish for enlightenment not for one's self alone, but for the benefit of all sentient beings."

    It is mere ignorance to suggest that allusion to "gods" as philosophical metaphor are the equivalent of/to "belief in" (or worship of) said gods. Even the god of the Bible speaks of "other gods", but Jews/Christians do not accept the notion of any other "gods"...except as allegory and historical reference.

    But hey. Don't believe me. This is, after all, the "religious education" forum. Go ask a Buddhist for yourself whether or not they believe in, or worship any deities. Why trust an atheist?

    I offered:
    >>"One [core] fundamental belief involves reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana - a state of liberation and freedom from suffering."
    [ http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism1.htm ]

    "Supernatural cause/effect outcomes/relationships", or not?"<<

    You replied:
    Incorrect. You operate from the flawed conclusion that any/all "supernatural" explanations are attributable to a "deity". While true that influences "supernatural" *may" be attributed to a deity or "divine being" (as defined), that is not the entire scope or definition of the meaning of the word itself, or what it may imply/impart (as also defined).

    To wit:
    "supernatural", adj. -
    1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
    2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
    3. Of or relating to a deity.
    4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
    5. Of or relating to the miraculous.
    - Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

    "not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material"
    - Source: WordNet ® 2.0

    While you might like to think (or operate within) a realm wherein only a god (or deity) represents the supernatural, there are indeed many others that do not.

    Your efforts to impose a deity "influence" upon the concept of reincarnation (akin to "evidence of absence equals absence of evidence"") just doesn't fly here, and any converse argument is equally empty and inapplicable.

    Reincarnation, just like the concept of bodily resurrection, is a matter of religious belief, or "faith". Neither is "provable", because both are attributed to supernatural cause/effect relationships/outcomes. The only difference in attributable supernatural cause/effect outcomes between reincarnation and resurrection is that one is dependent upon an intervening deity, and the other is not.

    You gotta admit, that the concept of a person dying; being "transformed"; and "coming back" as a veritable and viable dandelion (without any ascribed divine "intervention") meets the measure of a "supernatural" explanation.
     
  19. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Hello Sabio,

    You said:

    *Slaps head*

    Wow! I never thought of any of those! My eyes are opened!

    Stillborn identical twins/triplets. How are they different and unique (excluding religious concepts of a "soul")?

    Their "purpose" is to eat and reproduce. What other purpose would you ascribe outside of religious texts?

    You don't have much knowledge of cosmology, I assume...

    Wow! Genetic diversity. What a concept! Surely there's no "natural" explanation for such things....

    Divergent specie (divinely inspired/caused or not) roadkill besides...suffice to say that your facile "evidence" is insufficient for even the most novice skeptic to accept as factual any claims of a divine "Creator".

    Would you care to actually *answer* the question put before you ("What's wrong with that?"), instead of offering up rhetorical appeals to emotion?

    There are plenty of other discussion threads that address Creationism, and validity thereof.

    I invite you remain on topic, and to reread my proposed miracle (first post in the thread), and to offer answer to "What's wrong with that?".
     
  20. Sabio

    Sabio Active Member

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    S2a,

    Better watch that head slappin, it can give you a false sense of superiority...

    So you throw down a challenge to God to come and prove himself to you because you don't beleive, and He is supposed to drop everything else He is doing and accomodate you, on your terms! You must think the universe revolves around you as well...

    Sabio
     
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